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Biden appears to blank on Defense Sec’s name: ‘the guy who runs that outfit over there’

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President Joe Biden on Monday appeared to forget the name of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, referring to him at a White House event as “the guy who runs that outfit over there.”

The president was announcing the nomination of two female generals to lead U.S. military combatant commands.

“And I want to thank the sec—the, the, ah former general. I keep calling him general, but my, my—the guy who runs that outfit over there,” Biden said of the head of the Pentagon.

“I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we just talked about. And for recommending these two women for promotion,” the president added.

Previously during the event, Biden had mentioned the head of the Defense Department by his name, “Secretary Austin,” while seemingly reading from a teleprompter.

https://twitter.com/Breaking911/status/1369050996039680000

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Biden, the oldest elected president, has previously struggled with the names of his cabinet secretary selections, as The New York Post noted. Back in December, for example, he mispronounced the name of his nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, before correcting himself with a different mispronunciation.

RELATED: Biden’s HHS pick refused to support free elections in Cuba in 1997 after meeting with Fidel Castro

In celebrating International Women’s Day on Monday, Biden nominated Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost to lead the U.S. Transportation Command and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson to lead the U.S. Southern Command. Their nominations must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

They would be the second and third women to occupy such high-ranking posts, following retired Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, who led U.S. Northern Command from 2016 to 2018.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Biden Administration Relies on Discredited Reports to Claim Imminent Famine In Gaza

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Follow Steve Postal: @HebraicMosaic

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Despite sounding an alarm that northern Gaza would face an impending famine, an organization backtracked on its own analysis mere months later. USAID, and likely the State andDefense departments, relied on the research from this organization to pressure Israel on what was portrayed as an impending famine in northern Gaza.

On March 18, the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) issued a report stating that famine with “reasonable evidence” would occur from March to July in the northern Gaza Strip, “with expectations that it will imminently emerge by May.” On May 31, FEWS NET followed up with a second report stating that it “…finds it is possible, if not likely, that all three IPC thresholds for Famine (food consumption,acute malnutrition, and mortality) were met or surpassed in northern Gaza in April. But on June 4, The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Famine Review Committee (FRC) reviewed the FEWS NET analyses, and found them severely flawed on several accounts. Interestingly, according to a former IDF spokeswoman, FRC is at a higher, review level of the same organization as FEWS NET, so in June the organization essentially reviewed its own work.

Reliance by the Biden Administration. The Biden administration relied on the work of FEWS NET/FRC to chastise Israel on Gaza’s “imminent” famine. Sonali Korde, Assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, admitted such reliance explicitly in in an April 23 press briefing:Assessments on famine are based on a very rigorous methodology that is undertaken by the IPC, the Integrated Phase Classification, which is the expert body that both collects and reviews data. So, we will wait for their determination. But over a month prior, the March 18 FEWS NET report (or a March 18 FRC report) was likely the “heart-wrenching assessment” of “food security experts” that USAID Director Samantha Power cited that same day as evidence “that Famine is imminent in Northern Gaza.” In an apparent reference to the March 18 FRC report, on March 19, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that “according to the most respected measure of these things, 100 percent of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity.  That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified.

The ”risk of famine” canard continued to be peddled by the Biden administration. In the above-mentioned April 23 press briefing, Ambassador David Satterfield, the Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues stated that “the risk of famine throughout Gaza is very high, especially in the north. Israel must do everything possible to facilitate efforts to avert famine in Gaza. This followed an unnamed State Department official telling Reuters that “While we can say with confidence that famine is a significant risk in the south and centre but not present, in the north, it is both a risk and quite possibly is present in at least some areas. Additionally, in an April 4 press briefing, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder stated that “Secretary Austin again raised the need for a rapid increase of aid coming through all crossings in the coming days, particularly to communities in northern Gaza that are at risk of famine.

But while apparently captivating USAID, State, and Defense,FRC burst its own bubble through its June criticism of earlier FEWS NET analyses:

Analysis based on “assumptions and inference.” The FRC conceded that FEWS NET relied on “major gaps in publiclyaccessible evidence, including direct and indirect evidence for food consumption and livelihood change, nutritional status, and mortality…” and had “relied on multiple layers of assumption and inference, beginning with food availability and access in northern Gaza and continuing through nutritional status and mortality.” In other words, FEWS NET did not have the facts to support its assertion that a famine was imminent. FRC admitted that as much, stating that “While the use of assumptions and inference is standard practice in IPC generally, the limitations of the available body of evidence and the extent of its convergencefor northern Gaza in April leads to a very high level ofuncertainty regarding the current food security and nutritional status of the population.

Analysis did not factor in shipments to bakeries or contracted/commercial trucking. The FRC also noted that the FEWS NET analysis excluded 940 metric tons of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast delivered by WFP [the United Nations’ World Food Program] to bakeries in northern Gaza.Additionally, the FEWS NET analysis excluded the contributions of private commercial and contracted trucking, whose deliveries comprised “…about 1,820 [metric tons] (low estimate) and 3,850 [metric tons] (high estimate) in the month of March and for about 2,405 [metric tons] (low estimate) and 4,004 [metric tons] (high estimate) in the month of April 2024.” FRC estimated that if the FEWS NET analysis incorporated these food sources, the estimated caloric availability in the area would have increased from what FEWS NET estimated as only 59-63% of the population’s needs in April, versus 75% to 109%, and even 157% if a higher estimate was used. FRC stated that FEWS NET could have taken such sources of food into account “for a more thorough analysis.”

The Biden administration relied on flawed and incomplete research to make an unsubstantiated claim that Israel was putting Gaza at risk of famine. Rather than take a “guilty until proven innocent approach,” the Biden administration must allow Israel to defeat Hamas.

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